Neurosurgery Blog


Daily bibliographic review of the Neurosurgery Department. La Fe University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

Cost of coils for intracranial aneurysms: clinical decision analysis for implementation of a capitation model

J Neurosurg 128:1792–1798, 2018

The price of coils used for intracranial aneurysm embolization has continued to rise despite an increase in competition in the marketplace. Coils on the US market range in list price from $500 to $3000. The purpose of this study was to investigate potential cost savings with the use of a price capitation model.

METHODS The authors built a clinical decision analytical tree and compared their institution’s current expenditure on endovascular coils to the costs if a capped-price model were implemented. They retrospectively reviewed coil and cost data for 148 patients who underwent coil embolization from January 2015 through September 2016. Data on the length and number of coils used in all patients were collected and analyzed. The probabilities of a treated aneurysm being ≤/> 10 mm in maximum dimension, the total number of coils used for a case being ≤/> 5, and the total length of coils used for a case being ≤/> 50 cm were calculated, as was the mean cost of the currently used coils for all possible combinations of events with these probabilities. Using the same probabilities, the authors calculated the expected value of the capped-price strategy in comparison with the current one. They also conducted multiple 1-way sensitivity analyses by applying plausible ranges to the probabilities and cost variables. The robustness of the results was confirmed by applying individual distributions to all studied variables and conducting probabilistic sensitivity analysis.

RESULTS Ninety-five (64%) of 148 patients presented with a rupture, and 53 (36%) were treated on an elective basis. The mean aneurysm size was 6.7 mm. A total of 1061 coils were used from a total of 4 different providers. Companies A (72%) and B (16%) accounted for the major share of coil consumption. The mean number of coils per case was 7.3. The mean cost per case (for all coils) was $10,434. The median total length of coils used, for all coils, was 42 cm. The calculated probability of treating an aneurysm less than 10 mm in maximum dimension was 0.83, for using 5 coils or fewer per case it was 0.42, and for coil length of 50 cm or less it was 0.89. The expected cost per case with the capped policy was calculated to be $4000, a cost savings of $6564 in comparison with using the price of Company A. Multiple 1-way sensitivity analyses revealed that the capped policy was cost saving if its cost was less than $10,500. In probabilistic sensitivity analyses, the lowest cost difference between current and capped policies was $2750.

CONCLUSIONS In comparison with the cost of coils from the authors’ current provider, their decision model and probabilistic sensitivity analysis predicted a minimum $407,000 to a maximum $1,799,976 cost savings in 148 cases by adapting the capped-price policy for coils.


Role of the petrous ridge and angulation of the trigeminal nerve in the pathogenesis of trigeminal neuralgia, with implications for microvascular decompression

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:971–976

Vascular compression is the main pathogenetic factor in apparently primary trigeminal neuralgia; however some patients may present with clinically classical neuralgia but no vascular conflict on MRI or even at surgery. Several factors have been cited as alternative or supplementary factors that may cause neuralgia. This work focuses on the shape of the petrous ridge at the point of exit from the cavum trigeminus as well as the angulation of the nerve at this point.

Methods Patients with trigeminal neuralgia that had performed a complete imagery workup according to our protocol and had microvascular decompression were included as well as ten controls. In all subjects, the angle of the petrous ridge as well as the angle of the nerve on passing over the ridge were measured. These were compared from between the neuralgic and the nonneuralgic side and with the measures performed in controls.

Results In 42 patients, the bony angle of the petrous ridge was measured to be 86° on the neuralgic side, significantly more acute than that of controls (98°, p = 0.004) and with a trend to be more acute than the non-neuralgic side (90°, p = 0.06). The angle of the nerve on the side of the neuralgia was measured to be on average 141°, not significantly different either from the other side (144°, p=0.2) or from controls (142°, p = 0.4). However, when taking into account the grade of the conflict, the angle was significantly more acute in patients with grade II/III conflict than on the contralateral side, especially when the superior cerebellar artery was the conflicting vessel.

Conclusion This pilot study analyzes factors other than NVC that may contribute to the pathogenesis of the neuralgia. It appears that aggressive bony edges may contribute—at least indirectly—to the neuralgia. This should be considered for surgical indication and conduct of surgery when patients undergo MVD.

Emerging Applications of Therapeutic Ultrasound in Neuro-oncology


Neurosurgery 79:643–654, 2016

Transcranial focused ultrasound (FUS) can noninvasively transmit acoustic energy with a high degree of accuracy and safety to targets and regions within the brain. Technological advances, including phased-array transducers and real-time temperature monitoring with magnetic resonance thermometry, have created new opportunities for FUS research and clinical translation.

Neuro-oncology, in particular, has become a major area of interest because FUS offers a multifaceted approach to the treatment of brain tumors. FUS has the potential to generate cytotoxicity within tumor tissue, both directly via thermal ablation and indirectly through radiosensitization and sonodynamic therapy; to enhance the delivery of therapeutic agents to brain tumors by transiently opening the blood-brain barrier or improving distribution through the brain extracellular space; and to modulate the tumor microenvironment to generate an immune response.

In this review, we describe each of these applications for FUS, the proposed mechanisms of action, and the preclinical and clinical studies that have set the foundation for using FUS in neuro-oncology.

Incidence and Clinical Implications of Carotid Branch Occlusion Following Treatment of Internal Carotid Artery Aneurysms With the Pipeline Embolization Device

Incidence and Clinical Implications of Carotid Branch Occlusion Following Treatment of Internal Carotid Artery Aneurysms With the Pipeline Embolization Device

Neurosurgery 76:173–178, 2015

The use of flow diverters such as the pipeline embolization device (PED) for treatment of intracranial aneurysms carries the risk of side branch occlusion.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the incidence and clinical outcomes associated with supraclinoid internal carotid artery (ICA) branch occlusion after deployment of PEDs for ICA aneurysms.

METHODS: We reviewed patients who underwent endovascular treatment with PEDs for ICA aneurysms between June 2011 and March 2013. Forty-nine patients (43 women, mean age 56.36 1.8 years, 68 aneurysms) in whom PEDs traversed the origin of supraclinoid ICA branches (ophthalmic [OA], posterior communicating [PcommA], and anterior choroidal artery [AChA]) were selected for this study. Follow-up angiograms (mean follow-up, 12.8 6 0.8 months) were studied to determine the location of PEDs and the patency of ICA branches.

RESULTS: PEDs were placed across the ostia of 49 OAs, 14 PcommAs, and 11 AChAs. Multiple PEDs were deployed in 16 patients. Rate of branch occlusion was 4% (2/49) for the OA, 7.1% (1/14) for the PcommA, and 0% for the AChA. Patients with branch occlusion did not endure new neurological deficits. ICA branch occlusion was not associated with the number of PEDs covering the ostia (P = .76) or the origin of ICA branches from the aneurysm (P = .24).

CONCLUSION: The incidence of major supraclinoid ICA branch occlusion after treatment with PEDs was low. These events were not associated with new neurological deficits nor were they related to the number of PEDs deployed or the origin of ICA branches from the aneurysm.

Flow-Diverting Stents for Intracranial Bifurcation Aneurysm Treatment


Neurosurgery 75:623–631, 2014

Although initially considered safe when covering bifurcation sites, flow-diverting stents may provoke thrombosis of side branches that are covered during aneurysm treatment.

OBJECTIVE: To understand the occurrence and clinical expression of side-branch remodeling in distal intracranial arterial sites after flow diverter deployment by means of correlation of imaging and clinical data.

METHODS: We analyzed our prospectively collected data on a series of patients treated with flow diverters for intracranial aneurysms at bifurcation sites. From February 2011 to May 2013, 32 patients with 37 aneurysms (anterior communicating artery, 9 [24.3%]; anterior cerebral artery, 5 [13.5%]; middle cerebral artery, 19 (51.4%); terminal internal carotid artery, 4 [10.8%]) were treated. We divided aneurysms into 2 groups based on the side branches covered by the stent during treatment. Group A consisted of cases with side branches that supplied brain territories also receiving a direct collateral supply. Group B consisted of cases in which side branches supplied territories without direct collateral supply. The 2 groups were compared statistically.

RESULTS: Total exclusion occurred in 97.3% of aneurysms at follow-up. Initial modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score was 0 to 1 for 29 patients (90.6%) and 2 for 3 patients (9.4%). New permanent neurological deficit was reported in 3 patients (9.4%). At the 6-month follow-up, the mRS score was 0 to 1 for 31 patients (96.8%) and 3 for 1 patient (3.2%). Although 78.5% of side branches in group A underwent narrowing or occlusion after 6 months, no new stroke was found on magnetic resonance imaging.

CONCLUSION: Symptomatic modifications of side branches after flow diverter treatment depend on the extent and type of collateral supply.

Infundibular dilation and aneurysm at the origin of the posterior communicating artery: differential diagnosis by CT angiography

Infundibular dilation and aneurysm at the origin of the posterior communicating artery- differential diagnosis by CT angiography

Neuroradiology (2014) 56:917–923

Infundibular dilation (ID) and aneurysm at the internal carotid artery (ICA)–posterior communicating artery (PComA) junction can be difficult to distinguish but may differ in clinical significance. The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of CT angiography (CTA) in differentially diagnosing IDs and small unruptured aneurysms at the ICA– PComA junction.

Methods This retrospective study comprised 88 patients diagnosed with 107 protrusions (70 IDs and 37 aneurysms <5 mm; 19 bilateral lesions) at the ICA–PComA junction who underwent both CTA and digital subtraction angiography (DSA). Two neuroradiologists independently reviewed CTA and DSA images according to these criteria: (a) size (maximum dimension <3 or ≥3 mm), (b) shape (triangular or round/ oval/irregular), (c) aneurysmal neck (absent or present), (d) horizontal direction (posteriomedial or posteriolateral), and (e) PComA origin (apex, no PComA, or base). The intermodality (between CTA and DSA) and interobserver (between the two readers) agreement were determined for each finding.We also evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of CTA for distinguishing ID and aneurysm, using DSA as the reference standard.

Results The mean κ values of intermodality agreement for the size, shape, aneurysmal neck, horizontal direction, and PComA origin were 0.88, 0.87, 0.84, 0.71, and 0.56, respectively. All interobserver agreements of CTA and DSA were excellent. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of CTA for differentiating aneurysms from IDs were 94.6, 100, and 98.0 %, respectively.

Conclusion CTA may be a useful noninvasive modality for differential diagnosis of ID and aneurysm at the ICA–PComA junction.

Increasing Flow Diversion for Cerebral Aneurysm Treatment Using a Single Flow Diverter

Increasing Flow Diversion for Cerebral Aneurysm Treatment Using a Single Flow Diverter

Neurosurgery 75:286–294, 2014

A neurovascular flow diverter (FD), aiming at inducing embolic occlusion of cerebral aneurysms through hemodynamic changes, can produce variable mesh densities owing to its flexible mesh structure.

OBJECTIVE: To explore whether the hemodynamic outcome would differ by increasing FD local compaction across the aneurysm orifice.

METHODS: We investigated deployment of a single FD using 2 clinical strategies: no compaction (the standard method) and maximum compaction across the aneurysm orifice (an emerging strategy). Using an advanced modeling technique, we simulated these strategies applied to a patient-specific wide-necked aneurysm model, resulting in a relatively uniform mesh with no compaction (C1) and maximum compaction (C2) at the aneurysm orifice. Pre- and posttreatment aneurysmal hemodynamics were analyzed using pulsatile computational fluid dynamics. Flow-stasis parameters and blood shear stress were calculated to assess the potential for aneurysm embolic occlusion.

RESULTS: Flow streamlines, isovelocity, and wall shear stress distributions demonstrated enhanced aneurysmal flow reduction with C2. The average intra-aneurysmal flow velocity was 29% of pretreatment with C2 compared with 67% with C1. Aneurysmal flow turnover time was 237% and 134% of pretreatment for C2 and C1, respectively. Vortex core lines and oscillatory shear index distributions indicated that C2 decreased the aneurysmal flow complexity more than C1. Ultrahigh blood shear stress was observed near FD struts in inflow region for both C1 and C2.

CONCLUSION: The emerging strategy of maximum FD compaction can double aneurysmal flow reduction, thereby accelerating aneurysm occlusion. Moreover, ultrahigh blood shear stress was observed through FD pores, which could potentially activate platelets as an additional aneurysmal thrombosis mechanism.

Clinical application of perfusion computed tomography in neurosurgery

Clinical application of perfusion computed tomography in neurosurgery

J Neurosurg 120:473–488, 2014

Currently, perfusion CT (PCT) is a valuable imaging technique that has been successfully applied to the clinical management of patients with ischemic stroke and aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). However, recent literature and the authors’ experience have shown that PCT has many more important clinical applications in a variety of neurosurgical conditions. Therefore, the authors share their experiences of its application in various diseases of the cerebrovascular, neurotraumatology, and neurooncology fields and review the pertinent literature regarding expanding PCT applications for neurosurgical conditions, including pitfalls and future developments.

Methods. A pertinent literature search was conducted of English-language articles describing original research, case series, and case reports from 1990 to 2011 involving PCT and with relevance and applicability to neurosurgical disorders.

Results. In the cerebrovascular field, PCT is already in use as a diagnostic tool for patients suspected of having an ischemic stroke. Perfusion CT can be used to identify and define the extent of the infarct core and ischemic penumbra core, and thus aid patient selection for acute reperfusion therapy. For patients with aneurysmal SAH, PCT provides assessment of early brain injury, cerebral ischemia, and infarction, in addition to vasospasm. It may also be used to aid case selection for aggressive treatment of patients with poor SAH grade. In terms of oncological applications, PCT can be used as an imaging biomarker to assess angiogenesis and response to antiangiogenetic treatments, differentiate between glioma grades, and distinguish recurrent tumor from radiation necrosis. In the setting of traumatic brain injury, PCT can detect and delineate contusions at an early stage. In patients with mild head injury, PCT results have been shown to correlate with the severity and duration of postconcussion syndrome. In patients with moderate or severe head injury, PCT results have been shown to correlate with patients’ functional outcome.

Conclusions. Perfusion CT provides quantitative and qualitative data that can add diagnostic and prognostic value in a number of neurosurgical disorders, and also help with clinical decision making. With emerging new technical developments in PCT, such as characterization of blood-brain barrier permeability and whole-brain PCT, this technique is expected to provide more and more insight into the pathophysiology of many neurosurgical conditions.

Displacement of mammillary bodies by craniopharyngiomas involving the third ventricle

Displacement of mammillary bodies by craniopharyngiomas involving the third ventricle- surgical-MRI correlation and use in topographical diagnosis

J Neurosurg 119:381–405, 2013

Accurate diagnosis of the topographical relationships of craniopharyngiomas (CPs) involving the third ventricle and/or hypothalamus remains a challenging issue that critically influences the prediction of risks associated with their radical surgical removal. This study evaluates the diagnostic accuracy of MRI to define the precise topographical relationships between intraventricular CPs, the third ventricle, and the hypothalamus.

Methods. An extensive retrospective review of well-described CPs reported in the MRI era between 1990 and 2009 yielded 875 lesions largely or wholly involving the third ventricle. Craniopharyngiomas with midsagittal and coronal preoperative and postoperative MRI studies, in addition to detailed descriptions of clinical and surgical findings, were selected from this database (n = 130). The position of the CP and the morphological distortions caused by the tumor on the sella turcica, suprasellar cistern, optic chiasm, pituitary stalk, and third ventricle floor, including the infundibulum, tuber cinereum, and mammillary bodies (MBs), were analyzed on both preoperative and postoperative MRI studies. These changes were correlated with the definitive CP topography and type of third ventricle involvement by the lesion, as confirmed surgically.

Results. The mammillary body angle (MBA) is the angle formed by the intersection of a plane tangential to the base of the MBs and a plane parallel to the floor of the fourth ventricle in midsagittal MRI studies. Measurement of the MBA represented a reliable neuroradiological sign that could be used to discriminate the type of intraventricular involvement by the CP in 83% of cases in this series (n = 109). An acute MBA (< 60°) was indicative of a primary tuberal-intraventricular topography, whereas an obtuse MBA (> 90°) denoted a primary suprasellar CP position, causing either an invagination of the third ventricle (pseudointraventricular lesion) or its invasion (secondarily intraventricular lesion; p < 0.01). A multivariate model including a combination of 5 variables (the MBA, position of the hypothalamus, presence of hydrocephalus, psychiatric symptoms, and patient age) allowed an accurate definition of the CP topography preoperatively in 74%–90% of lesions, depending on the specific type of relationship between the tumor and third ventricle.

Conclusions. The type of mammillary body displacement caused by CPs represents a valuable clue for ascertaining the topographical relationships between these lesions and the third ventricle on preoperative MRI studies. The MBA provides a useful sign to preoperatively differentiate a primary intraventricular CP originating at the infundibulotuberal area from a primary suprasellar CP, which either invaginated or secondarily invaded the third ventricle.

Flow-Diverter Devices for Intracranial Aneurysms

Flow-Diverter Devices for Intracranial Aneurysms

Neurosurgery 73:193–200, 2013

Although the introduction of flow-diverter devices (FDDs) has aroused great enthusiasm, the level of evidence supporting their use has not been systematically evaluated.

OBJECTIVE: To report a systematic review of medical literature up to May 2012 on FDDs to assess the morbidity, case fatality rate, and efficacy of FDDs for intracranial aneurysms.

METHODS: The literature was searched by using MEDLINE, Embase, and all Evidence- Based Medicine in the OVID database. Eligibility criteria were studies including at least 10 patients, reporting duration of follow-up and number of patients lost to follow-up, and documenting the rate of aneurysm occlusion and death and neurological complications. The endpoints were angiographic success, early and late mortality, and neurological morbidity.

RESULTS: Fifteen studies were analyzed consisting of 897 patients with 1018 aneurysms. The mean value of methodological quality score was 14.4 using the STROBE score. The early mortality rate was 2.8% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.7-3.8; I2 = 93.4%) and the late mortality rate was 1.3% (95% CI: 0.2-2.3; I2 = 36.9%). The early neurological morbidity rate was 7.3% (95% CI: 5.7-9; I2 = 91.8%) and the late morbidity rate was 2.6% (95% CI: 1.1-4; I2 = 81.3%). The Egger test for early and late morbidity and aneurysm occlusion was ,0.001.

CONCLUSION: With the available data from the studies, both heterogeneity and publication biases imply that the current clinical use of FDDs is not supported by highquality evidence. In the absence of reliable evidence, the use of FDDs in patients eligible for more conventional treatments should be restricted to controlled clinical trials.

Radiation-Induced Complications in Endovascular Neurosurgery

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Neurosurgery 72:566–572, 2013

The incidence of radiation-induced complications is increasingly part of the informed consent process for patients undergoing neuroendovascular procedures. Data guiding these discussions in the era of modern radiation-minimizing equipment is lacking.

OBJECTIVE: To quantify the rates of skin and hair effects at a modern high-volume neurovascular center, and to assess the feasibility of accurately quantifying the risk of future central nervous system (CNS) tumor formation.

METHODS: We reviewed a prospectively collected database of endovascular procedures performed at our institution in 2008. The entrance skin dose and brain dose were calculated. Patients receiving skin doses .2 Gy were contacted to inquire about skin and hair changes. We reviewed several recent publications from leading radiation physics bodies to evaluate the feasibility of accurately predicting future cancer risk from neurointerventional procedures.

RESULTS: Seven hundred two procedures were included in the study. Of the patients receiving .2 Gy, 39.6% reported subacute skin or hair changes following their procedure, of which 30% were permanent. Increasing skin dose was significantly associated with permanent hair loss. We found substantial methodological difficulties in attempting to model the risk of future CNS tumor formation given the gaps in our current understanding of the brain’s susceptibility to low-dose ionizing radiation.

CONCLUSION: Radiation exposures exceeding 2 Gy are common in interventional neuroradiology despite modern radiation-minimizing technology. The incidence of side effects approaches 40%, although the majority is self-limiting. Gaps in current models of brain tumor formation after exposure to radiation preclude accurately quantifying the risk of future CNS tumor formation.

Discriminating radiation necrosis from tumor progression in gliomas: a systematic review what is the best imaging modality?

Radiation necrosis

J Neurooncol (2013) 112:141–152

Differentiating post radiation necrosis from progression of glioma and pseudoprogression poses a diagnostic conundrum for many clinicians. As radiation therapy and temozolomide chemotherapy have become the mainstay of treatment for higher-grade gliomas, radiation necrosis and post treatment changes such as pseudoprogression have become a more relevant clinical problem for neurosurgeons and neurooncologists. Due to their radiological similarity to tumor progression, accurate recognition of these findings remains paramount given their vastly different treatment regimens and prognoses. However, no consensus has been reached on the optimal technique to discriminate between these two lesions.

In order to clarify the types of imaging modalities for recurrent enhancing lesions, we conducted a systematic review of case reports, case series, and prospective studies to increase our current understanding of the imaging options for these common lesions and their efficacy. In particular, we were interested in distinguishing radiation necrosis from true tumor progression. A PubMed search was performed to include all relevant studies where the imaging was used to differentiate between radiation necrosis and recurrent gliomas with post-radiation enhancing lesions.

After screening for certain parameters in our study, seventeen articles with 435 patients were included in our analysis including 10 retrospective and 7 prospective studies. The average time from the end of radiation therapy to the onset of a recurrent enhancing lesion was 13.2 months. The most sensitive and specific imaging modality was SPECT with a sensitivity of 87.6 % and specificity of 97.8 %.

Based on our review, we conclude that certain imaging modalities may be preferred over other less sensitive/specific techniques. Overall, tests such as SPECT may be preferable in differentiating TP (tumor progression) from RN (radiation necrosis) due to its high specificity, while nonspecific imaging such as conventional MRI is not ideal.

Factors affecting peritumoral brain edema in meningioma: special histological subtypes with prominently extensive edema

Peritumoral edema in meningioma

J Neurooncol (2013) 111:49–57

Various degrees of peritumoral brain edema (PTBE) are observed in patients with intracranial meningiomas. Factors affecting the occurrence of PTBE in intracranial meningioma were investigated.

PTBE was investigated retrospectively for 110 patients with primary intracranial meningiomas. Predictive factors related to PTBE were analyzed, for example patient age, sex, magnetic resonance imaging features (contrast enhancement, tumor shape, tumor location, tumor volume), angiographical features (tumor stain, pial–cortical arterial supply, venous obstruction), and histopathological features (histological subtypes, mindbomb homolog 1 labeling index (MIB1-LI)). Histological subtypes were classified into World Health Organization (WHO) grade I common type (meningothelial, transitional, fibrous), grade I uncommon type, and grade II and III types. The extent of PTBE was assessed by calculation of the edema index (EI).

PTBE was present in 53 cases (48 %). Male sex, heterogeneous enhancement, superficial location, tumor volume (≥10 cm3), remarkable tumor stain, pial supply, venous obstruction, malignant pathology, and MIB1-LI ≥4 % were correlated with PTBE in univariate analysis. Pial supply and remarkable tumor stain were correlated with PTBE in multivariate analysis. WHO grade I uncommon type had obviously higher EI than WHO grade I common type, and WHO grade II and III types (P<0.001). Seven cases with prominently high EI (EI ≥10) were all WHO grade I uncommon type, including angiomatous, microcystic, secretory, and lymphoplasmacyte-rich meningioma. Prominently extensive PTBE might indicate the presence of WHO grade I uncommon type meningioma.

The prognostic significance of traumatic brainstem injury detected on T2-weighted MRI

J Neurosurg 117:722–728, 2012

Magnetic resonance imaging is frequently used to evaluate patients with traumatic brain injury in the acute and subacute setting, and it can detect injuries to the brainstem, which are often associated with poor outcomes. This study was undertaken to determine which MRI and clinical factors provide prognostic information in patients with traumatic brainstem injuries.
The authors performed a retrospective analysis of cases involving patients admitted to a Level I trauma center who were identified in a prospective database as having suffered traumatic brainstem injury identified on MRI. Patient outcomes were dichotomized to dead/vegetative versus functional groups. Standard demographic data, admission Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores, results of the motor component of the GCS examination at admission and 24 hours later, CT scan findings, and peak intracranial pressure were collected from medical records. Volumetric analysis of each patient’s injuries was performed with T2-weighted and gradient echo sequences. The T2-weighted MRI sequence for each patient was reviewed to determine the anatomical location of injury within the brainstem and whether the injury crossed the midline.
Thirty-six patients who met the study inclusion criteria were identified. At 6-month follow-up, 53% of these patients had poor outcomes and 47% had recovered. Patients with injuries to the medulla or deep bilateral injuries to the pons did not recover. The T2 volumes were found superior to gradient echo sequences in regard to predicting survival (ROC/AUC 0.67, p = 0.07 vs 0.60, p = 0.29, respectively), but neither reached statistical significance. The timing of MR image acquisition did not influence the findings. The time from admission to MRI did not differ significantly between the recovered group and the poor-outcome group (p = 0.52, Mann-Whitney test), and lesion size as measured by T2 volume did not vary with time to scan (R2 = 0.03, p = 0.3, linear regression). Performing a stepwise logistic regression with all the variables yielded the following factors related to recovery: crossing midline, p = 0.0156, OR 0.075; and 24-hour GCS motor score, p = 0.0045, OR = 2.25, c-statistic 0.913. Further examination of these 2 factors disclosed the following: none of 15 patients with midline-crossing lesions and a 24-hour GCS motor score of 4 or less recovered; conversely, 12 of 13 patients with lesions that did not cross midline recovered, regardless of GCS motor score.
Bilateral injury to the pons and medulla as detected on T2-weighted MRI sequences was associated with poor outcome in patients with brainstem injuries; T2 volumes were found superior to gradient echo sequences in regard to predicting survival, but neither reached statistical significance. When MRI findings were coupled with clinical examination findings, a strong correlation existed between poor outcome and the combination of bilateral brainstem injury and a motor GCS score of 4 or less 24 hours after admission.

Patients with idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia have a sharper-than-normal trigeminal-pontine angle and trigeminal nerve atrophy

Acta Neurochir (2012) 154:1627–1633

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is primarily diagnosed by symptoms and patient history. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging can be helpful in visualizing the neurovascular compression of the trigeminal nerve in TN patients, but the current parameters used as diagnostic markers for TN are less than optimal. The aim of this study is to assess whether the angle between the trigeminal nerve and the pons (the trigeminal-pontine angle) on the affected side of patients with idiopathic TN differs from that of the unaffected side and that found in controls without TN.

Methods A case-control study of 30 clinically diagnosed idiopathic TN patients aged 30 to 79 years and 30 age- and sexmatched controls was conducted.We compared the trigeminalpontine angle and trigeminal nerve atrophy via fast-imaging employing steady-state acquisition (FIESTA) MR imaging.

Results A sharp trigeminal-pontine angle was observed in 25 patients (25/30) on the affected side. As such, the mean angle of the trigeminal nerve on the affected side (40.17) was significantly smaller than that on the unaffected side (48.91, p=0.001) and that in the control group (52.02, p<0.001).

Conclusions A sharp trigeminal-pontine angle on the affected side was found in idiopathic TN patients by FIESTA imaging. This suggests that a sharp trigeminal-pontine angle increases the chance of neurovascular compression on the medial side of the trigeminal nerve.

Yield of CTA in catheter angiography–negative SAH

J Neurosurg 117:309–315, 2012

The yield of CT angiography (CTA) and MR angiography (MRA) in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) who have a negative initial catheter angiogram is currently not well understood. This study aims to determine the yield of CTA and MRA in a prospective cohort of patients with SAH and a negative initial catheter angiogram.

Methods. From January 1, 2005, until September 1, 2010, the authors instituted a prospective protocol in which patients with SAH—as documented by noncontrast CT or CSF xanthochromia and a negative initial catheter angiogram— were evaluated using CTA and MRA to assess for causative cerebral aneurysms. Two neuroradiologists independently evaluated the noncontrast CT scans to determine the SAH pattern (perimesencephalic or not) and the CT and MR angiograms to assess for causative cerebral aneurysms.

Results. Seventy-seven patients were included, with a mean age of 52.8 years (median 54 years, range 19–88 years). Fifty patients were female (64.9%) and 27 male (35.1%). Forty-three patients had nonperimesencephalic SAH (55.8%), 29 patients had perimesencephalic SAH (37.7%), and 5 patients had CSF xanthochromia (6.5%). Computed tomography angiography demonstrated a causative cerebral aneurysm in 4 patients (5.2% yield), all of whom had nonperimesencephalic SAH (9.3% yield). Mean aneurysm size was 2.6 mm (range 2.1–3.3 mm). Magnetic resonance angiography demonstrated only 1 of these aneurysms. No causative cerebral aneurysms were found in patients with perimesencephalic SAH or CSF xanthochromia.

Conclusions. Computed tomography angiography is a valuable adjunct in the evaluation of patients with nonperimesencephalic SAH who have a negative initial catheter angiogram, demonstrating a causative cerebral aneurysm in 9.3% of patients.

Annual rupture risk of growing unruptured cerebral aneurysms detected by magnetic resonance angiography

J Neurosurg 117:20–25, 2012

In this paper, the authors’ goals were to clarify the characteristics of growing unruptured cerebral aneurysms detected by serial MR angiography and to establish the recommended follow-up interval.

Methods. A total of 1002 patients with 1325 unruptured cerebral aneurysms were retrospectively identified. These patients had undergone follow-up evaluation at least twice. Aneurysm growth was defined as an increase in maximum aneurysm diameter by 1.5 times or the appearance of a bleb.

Results. Aneurysm growth was observed in 18 patients during the period of this study (1.8%/person-year). The annual rupture risk after growth was 18.5%/person-year. The proportion of females among patients with growing aneurysms was significantly larger than those without growing aneurysms (p = 0.0281). The aneurysm wall was reddish, thin, and fragile on intraoperative findings. Frequent follow-up examination is recommended to detect aneurysm growth before rupture.

Conclusions. Despite the relatively short period, the annual rupture risk of growing unruptured cerebral aneurysms detected by MR angiography was not as low as previously reported. Surgical or endovascular treatment can be considered if aneurysm growth is detected during the follow-up period.

Optimized angiographic computed tomography with intravenous contrast injection: an alternative to conventional angiography in the follow-up of clipped aneurysms?

J Neurosurg 117:29–36, 2012

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of an optimized angiographic CT (ACT) program with intravenous contrast agent injection (ivACT) in the assessment of potential aneurysm remnants after neurosurgical clipping compared with conventional digital subtraction angiography (DSA).

Methods. The authors report on 14 patients with 19 surgically clipped cerebral aneurysms who were scheduled to undergo angiographic follow-up. For each patient, the authors performed ivACT with dual rotational acquisition and conventional angiography including a 3D rotational run. The ivACT and 3D DSA data were reconstructed with different imaging modes, including a newly implemented subtraction mode with motion correction. Thereafter, the data sets were merged by the dual-volume technique, and freely rotatable 3D images were obtained for further analysis. Observed aneurysm remnants were electronically measured and classified for each modality by 2 experienced neuroradiologists.

Results. Digital subtraction angiography and ivACT both provided high-quality images without motion artifacts. Artifact disturbances from the aneurysm clips led to a compromised, but still sufficient, image quality in 1 case. The ivACT assessed all aneurysm remnants as true-positive up to a minimal size of 2.6 × 2.4 mm in accordance with the DSA findings. There was a tendency for ivACT to overestimate the size of the aneurysm remnants. All cases without aneurysm remnants on DSA were scored correctly as true-negative by ivACT.

Conclusions. By using an optimized image acquisition protocol as well as enhanced postprocessing algorithms, the noninvasive ivACT seems to achieve results comparable to those of conventional angiography in the follow-up of clipped cerebral aneurysms. The authors have shown that ivACT can provide reliable diagnostic information about potential aneurysm remnants after neurosurgical clipping with high sensitivity and specificity, sufficient for clinical decision making, at least for aneurysms in the anterior circulation located distal to the internal carotid artery. These preliminary results may be a promising step to replace conventional angiography by a noninvasive imaging technique in selected cases after aneurysm clipping.


Safe Resection of Arteriovenous Malformations in Eloquent Motor Areas Aided by Functional Imaging and Intraoperative Monitoring

Neurosurgery 70[ONS Suppl 2]:ons276–ons289, 2012. DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318237aac5

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) proximal to motor cortical areas or motor projection systems are challenging to manage because of the risk of severe sensory and motor impairment. Surgical indication in these cases therefore remains controversial.
OBJECTIVE: To propose a standardized approach for centrally situated AVMs based on functional imaging and intraoperative electrophysiological evaluation.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of 15 patients who underwent surgical treatment for AVMs in motor cortical areas or proximal to motor projections. Preoperative assessment included functional magnetic resonance and 3-dimensional tractography. Operations were performed under continuous electrophysiological monitoring aided by direct brain stimulation. We identified critical bloody supply to the motor areas by temporary occluding the feeding vessels under electrophysiological monitoring. Clinical outcome was evaluated with the modified Rankin Scale.
RESULTS: Total resection was achieved in 12 cases, whereas electrophysiology limited total extirpation in 3 cases. A significant reduction of motor evoked potentials by up to 15% of the initial values was associated with good recovery of motor function; in contrast, the disappearance of potentials correlated with long-term impairment. The mean follow-up time was 13 months, and clinical assessments revealed overall functional improvement (P , .05). After surgery, 11 patients were asymptomatic or presented with only minor neurological deficits.
CONCLUSION: Surgical resection of AVMs in eloquent motor areas can be considered a safe option for selected cases when performed in conjunction with a detailed functional assessment. Possible selection criteria for surgical treatment are discussed in light of the presented clinical data.

Factors predicting retreatment and residual aneurysms at 1 year after endovascular coiling for ruptured cerebral aneurysms: Prospective Registry of Subarachnoid Aneurysms Treatment (PRESAT) in Japan

Neuroradiology (2012) 54:597–606. DOI 10.1007/s00234-011-0945-0

Endovascular treatment of cerebral aneurysms includes follow-up imaging to identify aneurysms that may need retreatment. The aim of this study was to determine predictors of incomplete aneurysm occlusion at 1 year after endovascular coiling for ruptured cerebral aneurysms.
Methods In 129 patients of the Prospective Registry of Subarachnoid Aneurysms Treatment cohort, ruptured aneurysms were coiled within 14 days of onset and both initial post-coiling and 1-year follow-up digital subtraction angiography or magnetic resonance angiography were obtained. Factors predicting 1-year incomplete aneurysm occlusion (retreatment within 1-year or residual aneurysms at 1 year) were determined using multivariate logistic regression analyses.
Results One-year incomplete aneurysm occlusion was identified in 59 patients, including ten patients who were retreated within 1-year post-coiling. Dome size ≥7.5 mm (P=0.007, odds ratio (OR)=5.00, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.55– 16.15), pre-treatment aneurysm re-rupture (P=0.023, OR= 3.50, 95% CI=1.19–10.31), non-small size/small neck aneurysm (dome size, ≥10 mm or neck size, ≥4 mm; P= 0.022, OR=3.26, 95% CI=1.19–8.96), and residual aneurysms on immediate post-coiling angiograms (P=0.017, OR= 1.43, 95% CI=1.07–1.93) significantly predicted incomplete aneurysm occlusion at 1-year post-coiling.
Conclusions In addition to the characteristics of aneurysm and initially incomplete aneurysm occlusion, this study showed pre-treatment aneurysm re-rupture to be a predictor that favors closer imaging follow-ups for coiled aneurysms.

Neurosurgery Department. “La Fe” University Hospital. Valencia, Spain


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